• Doha, Another Kenyan Pre-Olympics trials..

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  • Asbel Kiprop wins his 1500m race at the World championships in Daegu ahead of Silas Kiplagat. The two will be in action on friday.(Photo:File)Asbel Kiprop wins his 1500m race at the World championships in Daegu ahead of Silas Kiplagat. The two will be in action on friday.(Photo:File)
May 10, 2012-

Kenya certainly has its finest athletes lined up to compete at Friday’s Doha Samsung Diamond league.

Kenya’s finest middle and long distance runners have descended on the small Qatari nation enmasse looking to ‘gauge’ themselves ahead of the real test –the Kenyan Olympic trials on June 23 in Nairobi.

“Doha timing is just perfect, “said Lucas Rotich, the man with world’s second fasest time of 26.43.98 behind Kenenisa Bekele who will be racing in his second major competition after his commanding performance in Brussels last September en route to a world-leading 26:43.16.

“It is a good testing ground for us before the do or die in Eugene ,”added Rotich who is part of the men’s team of 13 who will contend for Kenyan Olympic tickets prior to the Prefontaine Classic on June 3 in Oregon, Eugene.

“It will be interesting racing here. Its going to be a tough race you can see the Kenyan entries and there is also Bekele so it will be a good ground to test our forms,” added Eliud Kipchoge, the former world champion, fifth in Brussels race won by Bekele.

“All the heavyweights are here, so ideally this will be an interesting race down to the results," Augustine Choge reasoned.

“I had a good run in the 1500m last week at the Prisons championships,” offered Thomas Longosiwa, a finalist in the Beijing Olympics. “But it will be a good race for me to test my speed ahead and fitness of the trials in the 5000m.”

The focus undoubtedly will be on Bekele and whether he is fully regained his old form but foresees a fast race. “I expect a fast race as everyone will be fresh and it’s the beginning of the outdoor,” said Bekele, looking to double his form permitting.

“It is always exciting to race against our biggest rivals, Kenyans who have been fantastic form recently.”

Asked about his Olympics strategy and whether he will defend his two titles, he answered: “I will decide for sure after Hengelo whether to double, but if I have to pick I will then run the 10000m in London.

Am still building up my confidence as am not 100% fit after the long injury,” said the double Olympic champion who lost most of 2010 and 2011 to injury and dropped out of the 10000m in Daegu.

“I thought about it (injury) so many times when I thought I had recovered and I had not I thought it was the end of my career,” admitted the Ethiopian arguably one of the world best long distance runners.

Another enticing race will be the men’s 1500m where Kenya’s Olympic and Wold champion Asbel Kiprop will be looking to extend the country’s dominance in Doha- having won 11 of the 12 races here.

But he has a tough field to contend with there is World silver medallist Silas Kilagat, Nixon Chepseba, Haron Keitany, Sudanese twice world indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki looking to test his endurance in the longer race and Ethiopian Mekonen Gebremedhin the world bronze medallist from Istanbul.

3000M men

Arikan Kemboi TUR

Kenenisa Bekele ETH

Boulahfane Kamal ALG

Augustine Choge KEN

James Kwalia QAT

Eliud Kipchoge KEN

Moses Kipsiro UGA

Isaiah Kiplangat KEN

Abera Kuma ETH

Thomas Longosiwa KEN

Limo Ndiwa KEN

Lucas Rotich KEN

Suleiman Simotwo KEN

Edwin Soi KEN

Souleiman Ayanleh DJI

Zerguelaine Anter ALG

Evelyn Watta in Doha

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